Nice, France: très bon!
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by Chloe Green (@SharedBucketList)
Nice? As a former English teacher, I often used to tell my students to avoid using that ever so basic, underwhelming adjective and, when it comes to describing the sensational city that is Nice, France, the same very much applies. C'est extraordinaire! (And it deserves a lot more credit than its title would suggest)
If you're lucky enough to be spending a short weekend in this charming resort on the French Riviera, we've covered the must-see and do activities in our mini review below:
Stroll along the Promenade des Anglais
Palm trees, quirky bars and even a casino are all situated along Nice's delectable promenade. Walk at a glacial pace to admire the heavenly views of the bright blue Côte d'Azur or hire a bicycle/segway to get you from one end of this fabulous stretch to the other. With cosy warm temperatures throughout the year, Nice's pebbled beach is the perfect location to sit back and enjoy a glass of French wine with a fresh baguette. If you'd prefer not to sit on the stones, there are some restaurants with lounging areas, based directly on the beachfront, where you can enjoy a cocktail (or two) and grab some hearty grub while soaking up the sunshine.
Visit the enchanting Old Town
We have to admit that we enjoyed this part of Nice much more than we thought we would. In fact, we'd go as far as saying it was one of the highlights!
The buildings of the Old Town are absolutely striking. Vibrant colours, beautifully painted shutters and fancy architectural patterns make the more modern elements of Nice look like a downgrade in comparison. You'll want to photograph every building in sight as you navigate your way through these traditional and well-maintained streets.
Dream of sailing away from the Port of Nice
Also based in Nice's Old Town is the Port of Nice. Home to more pastel buildings and boats of all sizes, you'll be blown away by this docking place and all there is to see. Enjoy a boat tour, indulge in some lunch at one of the port-side restaurants or simply wander around the seafront edge.
Dine where the locals eat
As is the case with most tourist destinations, the most visible restaurants aren't always the greatest. We did our research prior to our trip (due to visiting for my birthday), knowing that we wanted to try only the very best cuisine on offer. After a bit of online reading, we came across La Langouste. Restaurant Méditerranéen. Although we aren't the biggest fans of seafood, we browsed the menu beforehand and felt there were still enough alternatives for us to choose from. It may have been hidden away on the backstreets and presented us with a hefty bill, but La Langouste turned out to be a gem of a find! The food tasted great (a generously sized steak for me which was cooked to perfection), the wine was delicious and the waiters were very attentive throughout our three-course meal. They also had a pretty outside dining area, lit up with fairy lights and candles. Would 100% recommend!
Coffee and a croissant - do we even need to mention this?
Since returning to England, we have been obsessed with croissants. Of course, it isn't like we had never tried one before going to the South of France but there is something utterly unique about the quality of Nice's croissants (and all the other baked goodies we sampled there) that supersedes all others. Pair it with a cup of strong coffee and it'll be like you've been transported to caffeine heaven.
Word of advice: there are so many bakeries to be found in Nice and some are much better than others - don't rush to buy from the first bakery you see! To make your life easier, we've compiled a list of the best bakeries/pâtisseries below:
Hug Cafe (for great-tasting coffee)
Patisserie Chez Maitre Pierre (for the sweet stuff)
Armand (for baguettes)
Boulangerie Patisserie Jeannot (for croissants)
Also, while we are on the topic of food, Nice has a lot of Italian influence due to its geographical location so you can expect the very best of classic Italian foods as well. Think: pizza, pasta, gelato, etc. We know, right... what isn't to love?
Visit Monte-Carlo, Monaco, for a day trip
If you've only got a few days in Nice, you might not think you have enough time to visit other popular cities - or, in Monaco's case, countries - but we did exactly that during a three-day trip. It's totally do-able and easy too! Is it worth it? Absolutely.
For more info, check out our articles on how to get to Monte-Carlo and what to expect from a day trip to Monaco.
If you're staying a little longer (e.g., a week), you could most definitely squeeze in a trip to other popular places along the French Riviera, including St Tropez and Cannes. We didn't go to either of these but imagine they would be just as accessible as Monte-Carlo was.
Climb Castle Hill
For breathtaking, panoramic views overlooking both the city and Port of Nice, you'll need to take a fair number of uphill steps towards Castle Hill. Don't be surprised if you're out of breath when you eventually reach the top, but you'll certainly be grateful once you do. This is a magnificent spot for photographs and a quiet moment to take in the surroundings. Toilet facilities, refreshment stalls, a children's play park and an artificial waterfall can all be found at the top too.
Explore the museums of Nice
In addition to the other gorgeous buildings we mentioned in Nice's Old Town, there are lots of historical sights to check out during your stay. The following are
the most frequently visited museums, according to Viator, and are all relatively close if you are staying in the city centre:
1. Marc Chagall National Museum 2. Musée Massena 3. Musee Matisse 4. Palais Lascaris 5. Musée d'Art Moderne Et d'Art Contemporain
Some of the above are free to enter while others do require payment upon entry.
We are sure there are lots of other fun activities to do in Nice that we haven't listed here, such as diving and wine-tasting tours, but we hope our article has provided you with an overview of the city's key highlights. We definitely managed to fit a lot in during our time there (mainly eating and drinking which is very important to us).
There's no doubt Nice has made an impeccable first impression on us and we are sure to return in future!
If you have any questions, please post them below...